If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. – Matthew 5:23-24.
Suppose that by a sin which you have committed you have given offense to one or more or all of your brethren in the congregation, so as to give them reason to think that you are still impenitent, and, possibly, by your bad example to cause weak Christians to be led astray. What must you do then if you would be a true Christian?
You must at once, quickly, with urgency, eagerly and willingly remove this offense. And how should you do it? You must tell all who know of the matter that you are heartily sorry for what you have done, and that you humbly seek comfort in God’s grace, and with the help of God desire to mend your ways. And you must not go to the Lord’s Supper, nor should your pastor permit you to commune, until you have done so. The offense would be far greater if you would go to the Lord’s Supper before doing this.
God wants you to first remove the offense in this manner. See what our text at the head of our devotion says. No offering, no prayer, nothing that you may do, and not your partaking of the Lord’s Supper, is acceptable with the Lord unless you remove the offense you have given. Remember that a true child of God, who is sincerely sorry for his sin, certainly is glad and willing to remove the offense he has given by his sin.
PRAYER – Lord Jesus, I am Thine. Keep me from sin! Because I am Thine, I am Thy witness who is to proclaim Thee by word and deed, that Thy Christian Church may be built up through my Christian testimony. Graciously guard me against giving offense to others! And when, by reason of the weakness of my depraved flesh and the temptations of the evil spirit, I have given an offense, do help me by Thy Holy Spirit to repent quickly and remove the offense. And then let me be assured of Thy grace through Thy Holy Sacrament! Amen.
Thy Table I approach,
Dear Savior, hear my prayer;
Oh, let no unrepented sin
Prove hurtful to me there!
Lo, I confess my sins
And mourn their wretched bands;
A contrite heart is sure to find
Forgiveness at Thy hands.
Hymn 310, 1, 2.